Saturday, May 01, 2004

Parody or satire?

Now is going public too! I'm sure their stock will shoot straight up, buy, buy, buy!

Booble is a commercial parody that Google probably can't do anything about, other than threaten expensive trademark litigation that is. Which is what they did do, and failed at (cease and desist letter and response). Who would be confused by this? Google may have a decent dilution claim though.

Here is a fantastic satire, go see it now (it's paid for by Ben, of Ben & Jerry's). What's the difference between satire and parody you ask? Well, a satire targets something other than the work that is borrowed from. For instance using a Dr. Suess style of peotry to write a book that attacks OJ Simpson (The Cat is Not in the Hat case), or reworking a commerical for "The Apprentice" to attack Bush. Parody is when the work borrowed from is the one being attacked or referenced. Parody is ok with copyright law, satire is not.

But then...The Apprentice-Bush commercial may actually be permissable because it is political speech and courts give wider latitude in such cases. A court may even find this anti-Bush ad to be a parody although that seems intellectually ingenuine. To be fair there are arguments on each side, for instance the maker of the ad could claim that it was partly parody because it is a play on the Donald's incredible ego (he thinks he can fire the president) or the stupidity of the contestants on the show (Bush is as pathetic as they are). The work need be only partly parody after all.

See for instance the Mastercard v. Nader2000 case. There the court found Nader's "Priceless" commercials, as directly borrowed from the popular Mastercard ad campaign, to be fair use under section 107 of the Copyright Act. Good ole' fair use. That outcome was welcome. The Trademark Blog discussed it here.

Via The Trademark Blog.


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